Category Archives: 2018

Life is a Happy Song…..

Welcome to summer!  I don’t know about you, but for me, these days bring lots of heat, lots of sun, and lots of activities.  One of my favorite ways to spend these days is by hopping around the parks of Disney.  Disney is truly my happy place and I can’t imagine not being in the middle of the magic.

When booking a trip, many people ask if it is better to buy a base ticket or the park hopper option?  While I can’t speak for everyone, I know my go-to choice is the park hopper ticket.  Here are the short and sweet benefits of purchasing a park hopper ticket:

  • Choices:  When you have a park hopper ticket, you have the choice to JUST stay in one park a day OR to visit multiple parks in a day.  It is up to you and how you want to spend your day!  Crowd levels, weather, or even just changing your mind on a whim can affect your overall experience each day, but having the chance to leave a park and go to another can make for a better overall vacation!
  • Extra Magic Hours:  Extra Magic Hours are an amazing treat for those staying on Disney property.  It gives you the chance to enter a park earlier than normal operating times, or stay later than normal hours.  These hours change daily, so be mindful of what parks offer each day.  Having the park hopper option means you can hit Hollywood Studios from 7:00-8:00am and then go to Magic Kindom from 9:00-11:00pm (or later some days!).  What an awesome advantage of staying on property.
  • Restaurants:  With a park hopper ticket, you have the flexibility to have a morning dining reservation at Magic Kingdom, followed by hitting a few rides, then heading over to Animal Kingdom for the rest of your day for your fastpasses.  There is alot of freedom with this option.
  • Bucket List:  The park hopper allows you to do as much as you want, for as long as you want.  Maybe on your bucket list is hitting all four parks in one day!  Maybe you want to experience fireworks at Epcot and head over to Magic Kingdom for late Extra Magic Hours.  It’s your choice!  Fill those buckets!
  • Park Hopper Plus:  With the Park Hopper Plus ticket, you get everything mentioned above as well as same day admission to:  Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, a round of golf at Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course (reservations required and subject to availability), Disney’s Miniature Golf at Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland courses, as well as the ESPN Wide World of Sports.

If you would like to get in the middle of the magic, it’s not too late to sneak in a summer getaway.  Contact me today to get your Minnie Box in hand and plans made.  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com

Once Upon a Time…In New York City

Live from New York, it’s……Disney????  Say what?  Yes!  You can do Disney while touring MANY places in the country and around the world without EVER seeing a traditional park character.  If you like a more grand experience from your vacations, then this post is what you need to read.

Last month, I had the honor of experiencing one of Disney’s treasures that doesn’t get enough publicity: Adventures by Disney.  We immersed ourselves in New York City, getting 100% VIP treatment and concierge level service right at our fingertips.  Disney treatment while not even being anywhere near a park or cruise.  It was bliss, it was heaven, it was like floating on a cloud.  Front and center for a viewing of Aladdin, experiencing lines with no wait, excellent food that never seemed to end, TWO tour guides (average tours provide you with one), local guides that provide special insight, behind the scenes tours, experiencing THE RIDE in a very special way, private showings, and most importantly, fun that seemed to get better with each experience we had.

Adventures by Disney isn’t your typical tour, it’s 1000 times better.  More service, the best food available, laughs, culture, safety beyond the norm, excursions and memories that will last a lifetime.  Adventures by Disney has itineraries located in: Australia, China, Japan, South Africa, Tokyo, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Austria, England, Germany, France, Denmark, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Alaska, Canada, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., New York, and San Francisco.  Itineraries also include Disney Parks around the globe.

Contact me today to plan your dream jaunt around the world.  You only get one life, live it well.  Travel and create more memories with the ones you love.  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com

Special Order!

Disney has dropped a great promotion this morning.  Disney Bound guests who book their packages by July 7, 2018 and stay during limited dates between August-September and November-December 2018 will receive this promotion. These packages are VERY LIMITED, so if you are interested, get in touch with me today!  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com

Friends on the Other Side (of the Castle)

A week ago, my plane landed in Orlando, and I was off to my home away from home. Disney World, for an agency training.  Keep in mind…I was about to share a room with three other ladies, two of which I had never met or really spoken with.  I was also about to meet 15 other agents whom I have spoken with just over social media, and a handful of phone calls to a few of them.  Yet, in true Disney fashion,  some extra special pixie dust was spread over this entire work trip.  These ladies have my heart now.  We are definitely not strangers anymore.  We laughed, we cried, we laughed until we cried, we sang in the rain, we ate until we had one too many food comas, and we screamed our heads off on some amazing rides and experiences.  It’s hard to imagine that eight days ago, I didn’t really “know” any of them.  Now, I can tell you wonderful things about each of them.   One of the key things I took from this training had nothing to do with Disney.  We discussed how much we should support each other’s careers and want the best for each other.  It was truly some of the best adult conversations that I have had in a long time.  We live in a world where everything seems ultra competitive.  Yet, here we were, giving each other tips and strategies, ideas and “a-ha” moments.  That is the way it truly should always be in this world.  I am blessed to be part of this, and that is just one reason why.

When our training was over, all of us began departing at different times.  Our 16 slowly dwindled down, and I ended up having about four hours before my flight.  Not once, during any of my trips, have I ever had “solo” time to doddle around.  It gave me a chance to see Disney through a fresh set of eyes.  When you are alone, you take things in more passionately, and that is exactly what I did.  I noticed things I had never noticed before, because during my previous trips, I always had an agenda, or was always talking to someone.  My mind and body were definitely on the “go”.  But this time, things were different.  It made me appreciate my job, my family, and my life, so much more.  It made me thankful for the opportunity to be there, and also appreciative of the chances I have had in the past to be there.  Disney is definitely my second home.  My heart is there, and I leave a piece of it behind with each visit.  I am blessed to have a family that supports my passion.

Let me show you how amazing Disney can be.  Let’s plan some magic together for 2018 or 2019.  Securing a trip is easier than you might expect and quotes are free.  Take it from someone who knows and loves Disney.  Contact me today:                  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com

 

I’ve Got a Dream!

I’m a dreamer….I always have been.  I was always the type who saw the glass half full, I always looked on the bright side, and I always believed that our own version of fairy tales could come true.  I rooted for the underdog and I believed in love at first sight.  I also believed that there were certain places that could take away all of your troubles, even if it were for only a brief moment in time.

That’s what Disney is for me.  Every visit, every moment spent there, I put the world and it’s problems behind me, and live in a world where there are endless possibilities and dreams that do really come true.  The goosebumps I feel when I enter the gates or when I stare at the fireworks….the chills I get when I hear a song from a movie I once loved more than anything….the raw emotion I feel when I glide through a ride, screaming with sheer excitement.  That is what Disney gives to me, and that is what I hope to give to all of you.

Dreams really do come true.  Love truly is enduring.  Family can be forever.  Memories can last a lifetime.  While I know this world can throw things at us that can knock us down,  it has been the memories that I have made, with my family, that has helped me persevere.  Let’s make some magic together.  Contact me today to get your dream vacation planned.  Maybe you want to sail away on a cruise or explore the world.  Maybe you would rather relive your youth in a theme park.  Or maybe you feel Hawaii calling your name.  Let’s build something beautiful, that you can reflect on in those moments when you just want to be a kid again.  Let’s face it….we all deserve that chance to feel young again.    debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com

Best Day Ever! (Animal Kingdom In 1 Day)

Wrapping up the “Best Day Ever, Disney in 1 Day” series, today I am focusing on doing Animal Kingdom in a day.  Animal Kingdom combines my two favorite loves (aside from my family), and that is : animals and Disney.  Animal Kingdom also has some AHHHHMAZING food!  With the 2017 addition of the new Pandora- World of Avatar, things just got even better in the jungle!  Get ready for a swingin safari….here is Animal Kingdom in 1 Day.

But first…..Flight Time!

Without a doubt, Flights of Passage has become the #1 most coveted ride in all of Disney World.  Getting a FastPass+ for this ride isn’t a mere suggestion, it is a definite if you want to be able to ride this possibly more than once.  If you were fortunate to be able to score a FastPass+ for this ride, you have a couple of choices.  You can head straight for Flights of Passage as soon as the park opens (so that you will get at least 2 rides in throughout the course of your day), or, you may choose the Na’vi River Journey as your first choice and then hop in the standby line for Flights of Passage.  Either way, this is definitely a ride that you will want to do multiple times and the best time to catch it is early in the morning before the crowds hit.

Safari then Sweets

One of my favorite things about Animal Kingdom is Kilimanjaro Safaris.  I love the oversized jeep ride, the open air feel, seeing the animals move in their own spaces.  I love how close you are able to get to (some) of the animals.  You feel as if you are truly in another country, which is what Disney does best.  I suggest doing this early in the morning because that is when the animals are moving around the most.  You can also do this later in the day.  I have been on the safari during lunch hours, and that is “typically” when the animals are resting and not as active.

After doing all of this, you will definitely need some morning fuel to push through until lunch.  Why not take a pause for some sweets?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Tamu Tamu Refreshments:  Chocolate Waffle Topped with Vanilla Ice Cream 
  • Restaurantosaurus:  Warm Chocolate Turtle Brownie 
  • Yak & Yeti Restaurant:  Fried Wontons or Sorbet
  • Zuri’s Sweets Shop: Cake Pops, Animal Cookies, Fudge, and several other delicious choices.  

Expedition Ahead!

After getting a little morning fuel, you have enough time and energy to trek ahead and do another ride before stopping for lunch.  This could be a great time to do the popular Expedition Everest, home of the Yeti!  This was a family favorite due to the climb, the view, the yeti, and the way in which you travel forwards and backwards.  Amazing experience.  We had alot of fun screaming out of my crew when we did this!  The “best” time to ride this is in the evening.  You can definitely try it during this time, and the best way to do this would be as a single rider  Then, head back later in the evening to do it again, maybe using a FastPass+ for it.

If time allows, you could sneak in one more ride before lunch.  I would suggest DINOSAUR.

Buffet with Buddies

Time for lunch, and what better way than to eat with some of your favorite Disney characters?  I suggest Tusker House.  It has delicous buffet style food and you get to see some familiar safari friends as you dine.  Mickey, Donald, Daisy and Goofy will make their way to your table, sign your autograph books, pose for photos, and just look so darn cute you won’t want them to leave.

It’s Showtime!

After lunch, the crowds tend to be pretty thick and it is definitely at its warmest time of the day.  One of the best ways to spend this time of day is by weaving in and out of the heat.  Watch a show, do a ride, then repeat.  Here is my suggested list of things to do during these hours:

  • Festival of the Lion King (one of my favorite shows ever!)
  • Finding Nemo- The Musical
  • Use your FastPass+ for Flights of Passage as a possiblility here
  • Maharajah Jungle Trek
  • Kali River Rapids (you will NEED a poncho for this ride!!!!)
  • Meet Disney Pals

Dinnertime Delight

By now, you have had a fun filled day, experienced things on so many glorious levels, but you will definitely need some down time to enjoy more of the fantastic food offerings that Animal Kingdom has.

If you chose Tusker House for lunch, a great supper meal would be Tiffins.  It boasts one of the best restaurants in all of Disney World.  Another option is Yak & Yeti Restaurant       (we love their Pork Pot Stickers) or Flame Tree BBQ.

Nighttime Novelties

Your first stop should be the Tree of Life Awakenings. The famous “Tree of Life” (as seen in my photo above) lights up in glorious beauty by the use of amazing animal projections.  Head over to the Rivers of Light Nighttime experience where guests can enjoy the beauty and magic of nature coming to life.

If you are able to experience the Extra Magic Hours, then you definitely want to head back over and try Flights of Passage…again.  You could even try to squeeze in the beautiful nighttime version of Expedition Everest.  Rides are so different at night, with everything you can see.

There you have it!  A “Best Day Ever” event for one day at Animal Kingdom.  Don’t forget to contact me to plan your Best Day Ever, whether it be at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, a Disney Cruise, a stay at Aulani, or jetting off on Adventures by Disney.  I can also make your dreams come true at Universal Studios in Orlando.  Find me at:  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com or visit my website at www.magical-vacations.com/debbie.lands  See ya soon, pals!

Best Day Ever! (Hollywood Studios in 1 Day)

Continuing the “Best Day Ever, Disney in 1 Day” series, today I am focusing on doing Hollywood Studios in a day.    I love Hollywood Studios.  I love the throwback vibe that you see and feel when you enter the park.  You feel as if you have been transported back in time to a roaring part of our culture’s history.  The storefronts are beautiful, the cast members are dressed in a nostalgic fashion, and for my trips there, I have always loved being there.   Also, if you are traveling after June 30, 2018, you will get to experience the all new Toy Story Land.  Plans for a new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Mickey and Minne Runaway Railway are set for opening in 2019.  Get ready to “Rock and Roll”….here is Hollywood Studios in 1 Day.

But first….Rock & Roll!

Whether you choose a Fastpass+ for this ride or you try to get there are rope drop, if you are looking for a thrill ride, head over to the Rock & Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith.  After completing this, the rides that typically have the longer wait would be Tower of Terror and Toy Story Mania.  You can choose which route to take after getting off the Rock & Roller Coaster, depending on whether you are a thrill seeker or want more of family ride.  Neither choice will disappoint.  My daughter’s favorite ride at HS is Tower of Terror, while my son loves Toy Story Mania.

Mid-Morning Must Do’s

Time to indulge in a power snack to get you through the rest of the morning.  I recommend these places to get that grab and go snack:

  • Sweet Spells (my favorite snack shop at HS!)  Check out the colored/flavored popcorn, smores, cookies, whoopie pies, chocolate dipped marshmallow wand….the list goes on and on
  • Starring Roles: Check out the Chocolate Butterfinger Cupcake….yum!
  • Popcorn from a kiosk.  Disney popcorn is extra magical!  It comes gluten free and tastes oh so delicious!

Launch Your Next Adventure

Star Wars fans love Hollywood Studios because there are so many things to do pertaining to this fan favorite film franchise.  Here are just a few of the things you can experience:

  • Meet & Greets:  It’s not a day at HS without seeing some character favorites such as Chewbacca, Kylo Ren, or Wookie
  • March of the First Order:  This commands your attention….watch as the Stormtroopers and Captain Phasma make their way through for this entertainment experience.
  • Star Wars Launch Bay: explore a large assortment of Star Wars memorabilia and large-scale replicas, purchase merchandise and play the latest Star Wars interactive video games.
  • Jedi Training:  You have to register for this early, so if this is important to you, do this prior to getting on early morning rides.  Then, when it is time, you will receive a 20 minute interactive Jedi Training session in which you will come face to face with Darth Vader.
  • Star Tours:  An amazing ride/experience.  Hold on tight, this 3D tour of the galaxy will leave you wanting more!

Blast into the Past During Lunch

I have two lunchtime recommendations.  Whatever you choose for lunch, choose the other for dinner.  I recommend making advanced dinner reservations or to take the stress away, let me do this for you!

  • 50’s Prime Time Cafe
  • Sci-Fi Dine In Theater Restaurant

Both of these establishments are known for their ambiance, and this is a great way to take a break from the sun and relax with your family.  We are repeat guests to these establishments because our kiddos loved it so much!

Afternoon Attractions

To avoid the heat, there are some incredible things to take in during your post food-coma experience from lunch.  After taking in these attractions, it will be time to fuel up with a quick snack.  Refer to my list from above to power through the late afternoon hours.

  • Beauty and the Beast:  Live on Stage
  • Muppet Vision 3D
  • For the First Time in Forever:  A Frozen Sing Along Experience
  • Mickey and Minnie Starring in Red Carpet Dreams
  • Voyage of The Little Mermaid

It should also be noted that there are great character meet and greets throughout Hollywood Studios.  My son was really into getting as many photos and autographs as possible, so we spent one entire afternoon tracking down all the characters we could find while my husband took the older kids in a different directions.

Take 5

Also as I mentioned above, I would suggest your supper to be at the other table service location that you did not choose for lunch.  Other great places for a quicker meal would be:

  • ABC Commisary
  • Backlot Express
  • PizzaRizzo
  • The Trolley Car Cafe

There are also Dinner Experience Packages and Dessert Experience Packages that tie into the nightly fireworks.

Finally, Fantastic Fireworks

This is where you have to let your interests guide your decision for ending your evening.   It comes down to two big choices:  Team Mickey/Disney character favorites or Team Star Wars.

  • Fantasmic!:  Playing along with the movie of the same name, Fantasmic includes incredible visual effects including:  fireworks,  music, characters, live actors, water effects, pyrotechnics, decorated boat floats, lasers, mist screen projections and audio-animatronics.
  • Star Wars:  A Galactic Spectacular:  The force is strong as you burst into a galaxy far, far away during this nighttime spectacular including: features fireworks, searchlights, fog effects, lasers, projection mapping,  and fire.

There you have it!  A “Best Day Ever” event for one day at Hollywood Studios.  Stay tuned for my next post continuing “Best Day Ever” featuring one day plans for Animal Kingdom.   Don’t forget to contact me to plan your Best Day Ever, whether it be at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, a Disney Cruise, a stay at Aulani, or jetting off on Adventures by Disney.  I can also make your dreams come true at Universal Studios in Orlando.  Find me at:  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com or visit my website at www.magical-vacations.com/debbie.lands  See ya soon, pals!